Merry Christmas and welcome to week 16 of the 2021 NFL Season. Here’s everything you need to know about the Pittsburgh Steelers trip to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
Where: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
When: 425pmET Sunday, December 26th 2021
Weather: Cloudy and 63 degrees with winds to 13mph
Wagering Information: Here’s everything you need on betting the Steelers and Chiefs from Betway.
Last Week: The Chiefs defeated the Chargers in LA 34-28 while the Steelers knocked off the Titans 19-13 in Pittsburgh.
TV: CBS Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (analysis), Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
TV Coverage in Your Area: Check 506sports.com for coverage in your area.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Craig Wolfley with Missi Matthews and Max Starks on the sidelines. (RIP Tunch Ilkin)
Head Official: Jerome Boger. The retired commercial insurance underwriter is in his 16th season as a head official. Earlier this season he oversaw the Steelers week two loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. He also officiated the last time these two teams met when the Steelers lost 42-37 at Heinz Field.
Key Injuries/Game Status (courtesy steelers.com) PIT: LB Buddy Johnson (Foot) – Out
TE Pat Freiermuth (Concussion) – Out, DE Chris Wormley (Groin) – Out KC: None
Injury Notes: The losses this week of Wormley and Freiermuth are huge. Ben Roethlisberger will be without a key weapon offensively meaning Zach Gentry will have to play a massive role in the offense. Defensively, the Steelers are already thin on the defensive line and Wormley’s absence creates even more problems.
2021 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 21st KC 3rd Passing Offense: PIT 14th KC 2nd Rushing Offense: PIT 31st KC 19th
Total Defense: PIT 27th KC 24th Passing Defense: PIT 12th KC 18th Rushing Defense: PIT 31st KC 19th
AFC North Rankings: Baltimore 8-6, Cincinnati 8-6, Pittsburgh 7-6-1, Cleveland 7-7
This Week in the AFC North: Cleveland at Green Bay 425pmET (SAT), Baltimore at Cincinnati 1pmET Sunday
What You Need to Know: Mike Tomlin is 6-3 all-time against the Chiefs while Andy Reid is 4-5 all-time against the Steelers… Pat Freiermuth has seven TD receptions in his rookie campaign. That’s tied with all other rookie tight ends combined in 2021… Diontae Johnson has recorded five or more receptions in nine straight games… The Steelers and Chiefs are the only teams in the league to have multiple rookies start on the offensive line multiple times this season… The Steelers are one of just two teams (minimum 10 games) to have a winning record at Arrowhead Stadium… Ben Roethlisberger has rallied the Steelers from a tie or from behind in the fourth quarter 52 times in his career. That’s tied for third all-time in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs Names to Know: QB Patrick Mahomes, DT Chris Jones, S Tyrann Mathieu, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LB Willie Gay, WR Mecole Hardman, WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce
What’s at Stake: The Chiefs can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and take another step towards the top seed in the AFC. The Steelers need to win two of their last three at minimum to ensure a postseason berth.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead 23-12 and they lead 12-7 all-time in Kansas City
Last Meeting: Sept. 2018 in Pittsburgh. Chiefs 42 Steelers 37
Check out the latest Steel City Blitz Steelers Podcast for more on the Steelers.
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
1. Win the Turnover Battle. When you can’t stop the run and your offense is struggling to put up points then your defense has to create turnovers. Last week, the Steelers did just that against the Titans and it MUST continue this week. It doesn’t really matter how either. Batted balls, punch-outs from behind, jumping routes… Keith Butler’s unit will have to take some chances here.
2. Be Who You Are. This is week 16. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is not going to change. They can’t run the ball and they struggle to protect the quarterback. Therefore, let Big Ben sit back in the gun and throw short passes and sideline fades. But also, utilize Najee Harris as much as possible as a receiver. If he has to spend all of his time pass blocking then we’re in big trouble especially without Freiermuth. In other words, just turn the whole gameplan over to Seven and see where things fall from there.
3. Be An Aggressive Head Coach. I don’t want to any more of this “living in your fears” crap. And I certainly don’t want to see conservative clock management. Mike Tomlin needs to create as many possessions as he can for his offense. If that means using timeouts to get a possession with thirty seconds left than so be it. Tomlin is not in any position to play things close to the chest right now.
Prediction: The Steelers have had decent success on the road in Kansas City but this is a different monster. The Chiefs are playing well having won seven straight and they don’t seem to be slowing down at all. I have faith the Steelers can keep this close simply out of will and necessity but they won’t be able to keep up with the scoring that the Chiefs will surely do. If Big Ben gets some big plays from Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson I think he can keep it manageable and I think T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith can create problems as well. I just don’t think it will be enough.
Chiefs 28 Steelers 20
Season Prediction Record: 8-6